Big season ahead for Deonte Burton

Yanders Law alum, Deonte Burton has a great shot at making even more of a splash this year in the NBA.

If Yanders Law posted and retweeted every big highlight from Deonte Burton’s NBA Summer Leage, G-League, or NBA moments, this would really just become a dedicated fan page. The man can jump, but we know he has the whole package required to crack the rotation for what is likely now a rebuilding OKC Thunder squad.

Burton signed a two-year contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder during the season last year because the organization recognized that they needed him available for their playoff push. Now, they have the opportunity to put Deonte on the court at will, and there is no reason they shouldn’t.

The Yanders Law vet is well-known for his ridiculous bounce and eye-popping dunks (we admit, we love that too), but there is so much more to being an NBA player,including intangibles that we know Deonte possesses.

Over time, he has become an incredibly hard worker, likely do to outside motivators such as his family that push him to be the kind of player that competes at the highest level. He has the timing and quick-jump ability needed to block shots, which is tough to teach. His defense overall will only continue to improve as he continues to matchup with elite talent. His outside shot is underrated as well.

Deonte Burton said before in an interview with Wil Harrington of The Basketball Movement that his time with Rob Yanders and Yanders Law helped him greatly with the mental side of the game.

That part of the game is really big. I’m physically gifted, but so are other people at this level. Discipline and hard work separates everyone.
— Deonte Burton

With the offseason departure of Paul George, the OKC Thunder are now sitting on a bunch of draft picks, looking to overhaul the roster to build towards the future. Whether it is now or even as late as December or so, they will likely even part ways with franchise cornerstone, Russell Westbrook.

Now without George or Jerami Grant to guard multiple positions, Oklahoma City will need some versatile players to fill the void. Perhaps some promising young talent that just needs minutes to show what he can do…

The future of the OKC Thunder organization is difficult to predict short or long-term. However, there certainly appears to be an opportunity for our guy Deonte Burton to get the minutes he needs to show the world what he can really do.

Hopefully that’s how things will shake out this year for our successful former player. We will be in his corner rooting for him the whole way as always, come what may. Good luck this season, Deonte and keep ripping Summer League to shreds!

Player profiles: Point guards

This is the first of a five-part series about specific basketball positions. We will show you some examples of players to watch at each position, starting with point guard.

Point guards have long been described as "floor generals" on the basketball court. They are in charge of bringing the ball up the court to initiate offense. Typically, the point guard will determine which plays are to be run, or the coach will relay the plays through the point guard. Some of the best point guards are the equivalent of another coach on the floor.

In player profiles, we will give you a few examples of players to watch if you are a point guard or would like to become one. There are dozens of players that set great examples on the floor, especially in the pros (which this series will primarily focus on). We will pick out a few of the best in the game, or maybe some older players if there is adequate footage.

Let's open up with the more traditional point guard style:

Pass-first point guards

In the age of the three point shot, perimeter players are often attempting to emulate the likes of Steph Curry. Historically, point guards have been less scoring-oriented and more concerned with facilitation and assist-to-turnover ratio.

Many of the best pass-first point guards have retired, such as Jason Kidd or Steve Nash. Their highlights are still worth watching as well as more general game footage. Their ability to keep their head up while dribbling allows them to see every passing angle available on the floor.

There are still a few pass-first PG's left in the NBA. Mike Conely of the Memphis Grizzlies has come into his own as a scorer, but is still defensive and passing-minded. Future Hall of Famer, Chris Paul is a pass-first guy that is a terrific example if you are on a team that plays at a fast pace.

 Another example is Rajon Rondo. Rondo has had an up-and-down career, but when he is locked-in, he may be the best example of a pass-first PG you can learn from in today's game.

Scoring point guards

Being a point guard means you will have the ball in your hands a lot. When you have a lot of touches and can score, it is a great benefit for your team. You will naturally get assists as well, but scoring guards are typically relied on by their team more for points.

There are many examples of scoring guards in today's game. Steph Curry, Kyrie Irving, and the combo guard James Harden are some big-name examples. An often underrated theme between these guards is their ball-handling ability that allows them to shake defenders on the perimeter and get to the rim at will.

Another great example to watch is Damien Lillard. Dame "Dolla" is a no-nonsense scorer that leads his team with a competitive fire.

Somewhere in-between

Not everything is black and white in terms of labeling a point guard's style. If you are interested in being a facilitating point guard that is also a capable scorer, there are plenty of those options as well.

The ultimate do it all guard today is Russell Westbrook. Coming off of his third season averaging a triple-double, Russ is a great one to watch as he overcomes his point guard size to ferociously attack the glass, the defense, and anything that stands in his way. Despite his tenacity, he always has his eyes open for teammates as one of the league's top assist men.

Reminder: Keep your cell phone away from the court

Even with some upsets, one of the oddest takeaways from day one of the NBA Playoffs was a player on the bench looking at his cell phone.

In the very first game of the 2019 NBA Playoffs, there was a strange moment in which the camera captured Joel Embiid and Amir Johnson looking down at Johnson’s cell phone. This didn’t happen pre or postgame, or even in the locker room. This occurred on the bench during the game with their 76ers squad trailing the lower-ranked Nets.

Amir Johnson was listed as “inactive” for the game. Embiid was “doubtful” to play, but still showed up and had some decent numbers despite poor shooting. The Nets did go on to upset the Sixers in Philly, taking game one.

Whether he was active or not, Johnson violated the NBA Operations Manual for “Use of Technology”. After the game, Joel Embiid stated that he looked at Johnson’s phone because his daughter was extremely sick. That makes the situation more understandable, but Johnson clearly didn’t alert the team, which fined him for having his phone after the incident.

No-matter the circumstances, this incident serves as a good reminder for our squads that cell phones have no business around a basketball court. During practice or games, attention needs to be on the task at hand. There may be instances that a phone is necessary to have a link for important things happening off the court. In those situations, a coach needs to made aware of the necessity.

In the age of social media and tech, phones and other devices are ubiquitous. They have become an unavoidable part of society. That said, there must still be boundaries and a basketball court is certainly one of those.

It is okay to be plugged in, but not at the expense of a team or moments that demand full attention.

Deonte Burton signs with Oklahoma City Thunder

At long last, the Oklahoma City Thunder have officially signed former Yanders Law player, Deonte Burton to an NBA contract.

Robert Yanders and other Milwaukee guys knew, then Iowa State knew, then Korea knew, then the NBA G League knew. Patient OKC Thunder fans knew and they could barely wait. Finally, the Oklahoma City Thunder have signed Yanders Law alum, Deonte Burton to a multi-year NBA contract.

He was already on a two-way deal, meaning he could play some games for the Thunder, but mostly with their G League affiliate, the Oklahoma City Blue. His new contract means that he will be available for the OKC Thunder’s 2019 playoff push.

Burton still has a way to go as far as working himself into the Thunder’s regular rotation. In the playoffs, those rotations typically get even tighter for most squads. Given minutes though, Deonte has proven that he can be a force on both ends of the floor. If nothing else, his ferocious dunks and big blocks have made for some incredible early highlights for the Oklahoma City Blue as well as the Thunder.

Deonte Burton said before in an interview with Wil Harrington of The Basketball Movement that his time with Rob Yanders and Yanders Law helped him greatly with the mental side of the game.

That part of the game is really big. I’m physically gifted, but so are other people at this level. Discipline and hard work separates everyone.
— Deonte Burton

Always talented, and now mentally tough enough for the greatest basketball league in the world, Deonte Burton is on an incredible path that we are thrilled we got to be a part of. The successes of organizations such as Yanders Law or The Basketball Movement are not always tangible. The more our athletes succeed, the greater our true accomplishments.

Deonte has had help from many sources over his young career, but at the end of the day, he is completely responsible for taking lessons to heart, working hard every day, and staying determined in reaching his goals.

Congratulations, Deonte. We know that you are going to prove the OKC Thunder right for giving you this incredible shot. You deserve it. Also, send us a jersey would ya?